Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Review: The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages by Shaunti Feldhahn

Two things that I always approach with trepidation are statistics and books on marriage.  My undergrad degree is in math and so I understand what exactly a statistic is, what it means, and how it can be manipulated.  Ever hear the joke, "there are three kinds of liars:  liars, dirty liars and statisticians"?  And then marriage books, especially Christian marriage books, can be awful tomes of caveman era gender stereotyping and most can be boiled down to "everything is the woman's fault because men can't help how they are".  Puke.

I'm happy to say that Shaunti Feldhahn, author of numerous books including this one, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, has mastered the delicate art of using statistics to derive useful information for Christian marriages.  As with her other books, Feldhahn did extensive survey research to come up with numbers that can be used to observe trends in different levels of satisfaction in marriages.  Instead of abusing statistics in order to make false claims about "happy marriages", she approaches the statistics from a place of "this is what the majority said...derive what you want from the numbers".  She gives both genders the benefit of the doubt when it comes to identifying motives and behaviors.  She is very matter of fact without being condemning of any group.

I've read many Christian marriage books and I still took many good insights away from this book.  I'm sure there will be those who will argue with her about her points, such as it's okay to go to bed mad, but even though this contradicts much of the "conventional wisdom" out there, all the advice is clear and practical.

I recommend this book to anyone married, engaged or even someone simply dating.  I also recommend her book "for women only" (I've yet to read "for men only).

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by WaterbrookMultnomah in return for my honest review.

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